Growing Flowers For Cutting

Growing Flowers For Cutting

Even if you like masses of flowers indoors you will not want to rob the garden of so many that it loses its appeal and its colour. It is a sad fact that flowers last nothing like so long when they are cut as they do on the living plant. Take daffodils for instance, which will last six weeks on the bulb yet even when you cut them in bud the longest you can hope to have them looking decorative is about ten days. So it is an advantage, if you have the room, to grow a few rows of flowers, such as sweet peas, just for cutting. The modern varieties give long stems carrying many flowers, and if left to grow naturally up twiggy sticks or wire netting, develop tendrils and attractive side stems. They produce so many of these that they can be cut to complement the flowers.

The netting which supports my peas forms one side of a vast cage under which is my vegetable garden, so in fact no great space is given up to them. You can grow a row of peas like this as a screen, a division between one part of the garden and another, or along one side of a patio or sitting-out aiea. Alternatively, an extremely decorative and practical way of growing them is to make tripods of canes and twiggy sticks in a mixed border.

There are so many annuals, both hardy and half-hardy, that every I lowct arranger can find plenty to suit both taste and need. Even those that can be cut without great loss, for as a rule the more you cut these plants the more they grow. Annuals for cutting are easily cared for if they are grown in rows. As they grow you can fix a string along each side to keep them upright if you have no twiggy sticks to support them. Alternatively you can use very large mesh wire netting, chicken wire. Fold this tent-wise, place it over the rows and the plants will grow up through it. Other netting, including that sold as pea netting, can be stretched over the rows.

If you sow hardy annuals in September you will get flowers earlier the following year than if you sowed them in the spring. If you have cloches to spare you can protect them and get them earlier still. Actually I prefer to use my cloches to put over rows of polyanthus, anemones, wallflowers and other spring flowers. This means that not only are they brought into flower earlier but that the flowers themselves are beautifully clean and unweathered. Hellebores, Christmas roses in particular, are much better when covered this way.

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